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Welcome to this September 2020 edition of Hackwriters. 21 years on-line, 7700+ articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the links.


It's September the 28th. Covid has reached 33,328,650 cases worldwide and 1,002,277 deaths Source: Worldometers.

Here in the UK the numbers are rising fast and with it new rules to learn. Universities are trying to cope as the virus spreads like wildfire and a national shortage of tests is not helping. People are already panic buying toilet paper but why I have no idea why. It's just not that kind of disease. Then looming ever faster we have Brexit heading our way and food shortages come January. So much to look forward to right?

Having recently spent a week in London and a couple of days in Bath I can report that we are not quite done for yet. The trains are still running half empty. But they are running. I went to an excellent birthday lunch for my sister at Applebee's Fish restaurant in Borough Market (albiet sitting in the actual street at our table) and it was nice not to be crowded. I realise the traders would like the crowds back but as a customer London was breathable and pleasant. (Slightly spoiled by the sight of them buidling an emergency Covid ward in the gardens at Guy's Hospital.) In Bath it was great to get breakfast at Cafe Lucca again and a later lunch at the Walcot. Aside from the QR codes and giving up phone numbers, one would almost feel normal again. I guess this won't last but it was fun for a few days.

We got through August without any wars breaking out. It was touch and go with Greece and Turkey posturing in the Eastern Med over gas rights.  We had a narrow escape with Taiwan too, although China has stepped the intimidation up big time with a major war exercise within sight of Taiwan’s shoreline and intimidation by fighter jets last week.  Where will the next flashpoint be? A succession battle in North Korea perhaps? Or perhaps Belarus finds a peaceful solution that doesn't involve Putin ordering troops over the border.

A small miracle occurred this month. I finally managed to register with a doctor. Something that has been impossible since Covid began. However 'the doctors' won't see you face to face'. So phone only for people with melanoma then. (Yes I have a mild problem with this and had some treatment two years ago). Generally speaking if doctors don't see patients face to face, thousands will never know they have unseen problems from heart issues, cancer, signs that someone might not be aware of but a doctor can pick up in a face to face appointment. This is what I don't like about the 'new normal'.

  So as the virus reaches 33 million worldwide with well over 7.32 million in the USA infected with 209,453 +deaths there, what will October bring ? No doubt a ton of ridiculous lies and posturing from Trump. You can read more about that in Bob Woodward's book Rage which is out now in the shops.  The sheer brazen lies and stupidity including suggesting people should vote twice surely make Trump the worst president of all time. Clearly he doesn't quiet grasp the law or democracy. Now the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has altered the stakes big time for women in the USA.

If he wants to make America great again, again, why not start on healing the nation?  Bring the racist cops to heel, instead of encouraging them to kill unarmed black people and actually causing social and racial division to appease his far-right voters.  It’s not too late to start on repairing the US infrastructure, seems the only thing he’s done is built a section of wall in all of his 3.9 years.  Oh and add trillions to the national debt that will take generations to pay off, if ever.  He has literally ruined America, just like always with his four previous bankruptcies.

In the UK we lurch towards a Brexit doomsday with no plan on how to feed the nation after January.  It will be like one of those zombie apocalypse movies I suspect.  Not exactly looking forward to it. James Skinner warned us this might happen on these pages 20 years ago and I have reprised his 2001 article on the front page.

Worse we may have a second lockdown here in the UK and Europe too by the beginning of October. It's coming along fast to coincide with flu season and schools and Universities going back.   I thought about volunteering for the Covid vaccine but once I heard I had to drive 90 miles for it and have multiple regular blood tests I chickened out.  I suspect I shall regret this moment of cowardice.

I finally went back to the cinema.  I’m normally a big fan of Christopher Nolan movies but TENET is so complex I sort of pretended I knew what was happening and just enjoyed the explosions. It took $250 million worldwide so far but not enough to recoup the costs I suspect. A small suggestion. Release ‘No Time To Die’ now. By November the cinemas will be closed again. As it is all the MArvel releases have been put back to 2021 and the long awaited West Side Story from Spielberg. Now I read the NY Opera House won't be repopening and the theatres in New York and London will remain dark. Career shattering news for actors worldwide as well as all those who work within the arts.

I've been working on a new kids screenplay this month. Ist Draft just completed. It was going to be a novel but I had issues with the initial plotting. By writing a script it kind of forces clarity and it's finally come together. Either way it's more coherent than Tenet but definitely lacks enough explosions and it's way too long. I've sent it out to my script doctor Anna to wield the knife. By the way I enjoyed a little indie movie on Netflix called 'Safety Not Guaranteed' highly recommend it and a small Vancouver movie too called 'Freaks'. Both low budget but with stories told well with good characters. Take a look.

Sad to announce the passing of one of our regular contributors from Ottawa who loved music and travel:
Elizabeth Schotten Merklinger

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stockpile happiness.

* Keep abreast of the latest virus numbers here. Source:

© Sam Hawksmoor - September 28th 2020
The Sam North Novels - still available to order Amazon or Lulu
Another Place to Die: Endtime Chronicles. The definitive pandemic novel.

Read Girl with Cat (Blue) - 'funny, scary and full of surprises - a must read' LD

*Keeping Hackwriters archived is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle, we aren't picky.
Magenta - A chilling story of kidnapping, burning and strangeness set in the wilds of Lincolnshire

** The Heaviness, also recommended & The Repercussions of Tomas D -'best time travel WW2 story in a long while'

By Sam Hawksmoor & Sam North
There's no safe place to hide from the pandemic

Print & Kindle
Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Can you get ahead of the virus?
a taster here The Last Ferry

Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die: Endtime will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...'
Roxy West - Amazon.co.uk

Another Place To Die

Girl with Cat (Blue) Girl with Cat (Blue) - Shortlisted for the Rubery International Book Award

'a funny, bloody, colorful narrative that never fails to surprise the reader. Girl with Cat (Blue) provides great entertainment'.

'This book was amazing! I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn't put the book down.'
Judge, 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. - Honorable Mention

J&K 4Ever - A post-apocalypse love story
Sixty years after the end of everything the city of Bluette survives, controlled by a malignant sect.  A place where men rule, girls receive no education and are matched at 16 to the highest bidder.  No one is ever permitted to leave the city and outside is a murderous wasteland of despair. Orphans Kruge and Jeyna have been devoted to each other through all the years of terror in this harsh regime and sworn never to be parted.  But the beautiful Jeyna has been betrayed by the Warden. Kruge has been swiftly banished to the Scraps, under the control of the Keeper. Jeyna is heartbroken; she will not accept her fate and escapes to find Kruge. 
 'A genuine romance in a bleak but plausible and terrifying setting'.
Marikka MARIKKA- exclusively on Amazon Print and kindle 2

Based on a tragic real life event, Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Starfish boy – a runaway working for Jackson, a scarred man hiding a sinister secret from the world. Meanwhile her real father searches for her with the aide of Anya, ‘the girl who can read objects’. More about the writing of this book

Long after my tears dried, my heart stayed with Marikka, Starfish Boy and the strange girl who reads objects.’ CT
You will smile, you will gasp with shock, and you will struggle to read the words through your tears. Gemma Williams - Amazon.co.uk
Spy/Romance thriller set during the Blitz in WW2 - Kindle download

The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA love story that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.' Marcel d'Agneau
'A brilliant imagining of living in the Blitz, well researched.' Amazon UK
'This is Man in the High Castle for teens and scarily plausible '

*download the Kindle version or buy the paperback from Hammer & Tong
The Heaviness of Genie Magee 'The Heaviness' for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity. An original Genie Magee story

Genie & Renée have just 36 hours to save Rian or he dies

'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Kindle & print

Thanks to readers who have been buying this title. * Also published as Rüya by Marti Yayincilik - The Turkish publishers of TOZ & Golge

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